Looking for more living space? These homeowners found the solution in their own backyard
Outdoor Family Room
John Granen
Recycled wood makes this new "family shed" used for desk work and summer dining look old. Details like the skirting for the vintage bathroom sink add to the illusion of a building that's been on the site for a long time.

The Massengale family of Washington calls their home WHQ, short for World Headquarters. With two adults and three kids, schedules can get complicated.

That’s why it’s important that the residents of WHQ have a nearby retreat. They created one in their backyard with the help of interior designer Carleen Cafferty and garden designer Karla Arnold.

The plan included a structure for storing tools and potting plants. But it kept growing.

First, the family decided to make it a kids’ hangout. Then, they decided to make it an adult retreat. When it was done, it was more like a satellite family room.

 “The whole family uses it,” says Cafferty. “The kids and their friends like to sleep there. Mom uses it as a retreat. Dad holds business meetings there.”

Although it is new, the structure looks old, thanks to recycled wood and comfortable furnishings. Painted platters and an old chandelier give the room a funky elegance.

“This space appeals to the little kid in all of us who always wanted a tree house,” says Cafferty.

“It’s a cozy space, not a formal room. The denlike spaces are the rooms people gravitate to.”

DESIGN: Carleen Cafferty, NWSID, Interior Design, Seattle (206/768-2565); Karla Arnold, Through the Garden Gate, Seattle (206/972-8166) 

More great garden sheds: Backyard sheds and cottages